Improved touch control allows users greater use of second e-Ink screen
Russian manufacturer Yota has shown off the latest version of its dual-screen YotaPhone at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Following the release of the original model last December, the company has now revealed the next generation YotaPhone, featuring full-touch control on its always-on electronic paper display (EPD) alongside a raft of new hardware and software updates.
“YotaPhone’s arrival on the market last year marked one of the first game changers in smartphones in many years,” said Yota CEO Vlad Martynov. “Yota Devices proved that there is an antidote to the always-dark smartphone screen.”
The new touch control option means that users will now be able to respond to notifications and news displayed on the YotaPhone’s second screen without the need to wake up the device. This allows users to reply to texts, emails, calendar invites and social media updates all without draining the phone’s battery life, which can last up to 50 hours when using the secondary 4.7 inch EPD screen.
Both the EPD and the YotaPhone’s main 5-inch AMOLED display have been upgraded from the original device, with the former featuring both a higher resolution and greater pixel density, meaning the screen can be used in bright and dark environments. The existence of two screens also means that 74 percent of YotaPhone surface is a usable, interactive display, compared to just 30-40 percent on other premium Android smartphones.
The handset also features a Smart Power Mode so users can turn off the energy-consuming colour screen and perform functions like making and answering phone calls on the always-on display to preserve battery life.
The YotaPhone will be powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, and will also feature wireless charging capability, near-field communications (NFC), advanced anti-theft protection and high-performance integrated hands-free audio (IHF).
“The future of smartphones is always-on displays allowing users without turning off the real world and disrupting the people around you. The next generation YotaPhone takes this totally innovative concept in smartphones and makes it even better. Now, with two full-touch displays, the next generation YotaPhone is twice as smart, twice as useful and twice as beautiful,” explained Martynov.
The company also announced that it is releasing a software development kit (SDK) to allow third-party developers to create apps tailored specifically to the YotaPhone’s dual-screen display. Several of these apps were demonstrated at the company’s conference, including Sportscaster, which allows users to track their favourite team, including play-by-play text commentary streamed in real time to the always-on display, and Fitness Tracker, which syncs with any health monitoring device and tracks health status and fitness goals.
The new YotaPhone will be on sale in EMEA and Russia in Q4 2014, with a version for the US and Asian markets to follow a few months later. There are no details on pricing as yet, but the company has said that it will soon be announcing an upgrade program for consumers who purchased the first generation YotaPhone allowing them to receive the next generation at a significant discount.